Leading dental support organization Pacific Dental Services (PDS) is proud to join Points of Light in celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 17-23, 2022), a time to recognize those who donate their time, money and talents to be a force for good in the world. At the heart of Pacific Dental Services is its culture of service. In fact, PDS created a We Serve department that focuses on service-oriented initiatives such as donated dentistry, fundraising drives and international volunteerism.
For the first time in more than two years, 10 PDS team members and supported clinicians volunteered their time and traveled to Xenacoj, Guatemala last week with the PDS Foundation to provide oral health care at the PDS Foundation Clinica Dental. The clinic was established in 2015 to respond to the widespread need for oral health care. More than half of Guatemala’s population experiences poverty in some form and 13% live in extreme, impoverished conditions. Dental disease is prevalent for more than 16 million people throughout the country.
PDS-supported dentists, dental assistants, volunteers and students from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala served alongside the clinic’s dentist, Dr. Rodrigo Letona Barillas, where they provided more than $172,000 in donated dentistry and created access to care to 165 patients. The Pacific Dental Services Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve overall health by improving oral health, through opportunities to serve locally, nationally, and internationally. Its three main programs are special needs dentistry, dental assistant scholarships and international service trips.
“Service is at the heart of Pacific Dental Services and participating in PDS Foundation international trips are one way our supported dentists and team members lend a helping hand to individuals who lack access to care,” said Kyle Guerin, Director, PDS Foundation and Corporate Social Responsibility. “It’s heartwarming to know that we can help make a positive impact around the globe, one smile at a time.”
Each year, Pacific Dental Services provides eight hours of paid volunteer time to each of its employees, or team members, and encourages its supported dentists and their teams to provide high-quality donated dentistry to underserved patients. In 2021, PDS team members and supported clinicians provided $8 million of donated dentistry throughout the year and as part of the annual Smile Generation Serve Day event, volunteered 50,000 hours to worthy charities and organizations, and raised $660,000 for charity: water and more than $500,000 for the PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office.
Smile Generation connects consumers with trusted dentists who are dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience and advanced clinical care. Now in its 12th year, Smile Generation Serve Day is a nationwide campaign of giving focused on providing donated dental care to patients in need, providing them with cleanings, exams, digital X-rays, extractions, restorations, and more. PDS-supported dental offices throughout the United States open their doors to provide donated dentistry creating access to care for hundreds of thousands of patients.
Awarded for these services, PDS has been named an honoree of The Civic 50 Orange County by OneOC and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service in 2017, 2019 and just recently in 2021. The award recognized Pacific Dental Services as one of the most community-minded companies in Orange County, as determined by an independently administered and scored survey.
Since its inception in 1994, PDS-supported dentists have been committed to clinical excellence and providing the Perfect Patient Experience to strengthen the communities in the markets we serve. This includes educating patients about the link between oral health and whole-body health – what PDS and its supported practices call the Mouth-Body Connection. Research shows that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body. Maladies of the mouth, including periodontal disease, may be linked with other medical conditions including oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.